The technical team of the Central government will visit the Azhikkal port here on April 11 to examine the feasibility of the proposal to set up a major port-cum-ship building facility there close to the estuary.

Azhikkal port officials here informed that the team headed Cochin Port Trust chairman Paul Antony is visiting Azikkal to study the proposal as Azhikkal has been identified by the State government as the location for developing the port-cum-ship building facility. The other members of the technical committee include Chairman and Managing Director of the Cochin Shipyard Ltd. Commodore K. Subramaniam, Development Advisor (Ports), Ministry of Shipping, B. Poiyaamozhi, who is the committee’s convenor, and senior Hydrographic Surveyor D.S.R. Satya Prakash. After the site visit, the team members would hold a meeting of stake holders including officials of Ports, Forest, Revenue and Fisheries Departments as well as Kerala State Electricity Board officials.

The committee has been mandated to study the proposal and submit its report in three months. The major task of the team members is to identify the suitable location at Azhikkal for developing the facility. The committee will also prepare report on the cargo traffic through the ports in the neighbourhood of Azhikkal. Updated navigational charts of the locations to be identified for the facility will also be studied to assess the natural draft of the basin of the identified area, the officials here said adding that rail and road connectivity to the proposed facility will also be examined by the team.

Meanwhile, the last date for submitting bids for the development of the Azhikkal port has been extended as per requests from prospective developers, the officials here said. As per the original decision, the last date for submitting the bid was March 30 which has now been extended to May 15. The decision to extend the date followed the pleas from the prospective investors who showed keen interest in the project. The port, which has occupied a prominent position in the coastal shipping plan of the State government, is proposed to be developed as a PPP (private-public partnership) project.

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